From Grist, a really cool environmental website which occasionally gets it right:
Congress did something this week that’s practically unheard of. It handed the Environmental Protection Agency broad new powers.
The Senate on Tuesday passed a sweeping bill that revamps how federal regulators handle chemical safety, after Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) lifted a last-minute hold on a vote. Because the House already passed the same reconciled version, the bill is headed to President Obama’s desk, where he is expected sign it into law.
Which means a Republican-controlled Congress managed to do something that no Congress since 1976 had been able to do: Overhaul the Toxic Substances Control Act, a flawed, unenforceable law that gave the EPA just 90 days to study whether a new chemical was dangerous. It didn’t even allow the EPA to regulate asbestos-containing products, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in 1989.
I am not a fan of giving extra authority to regulators. I’m also not a big fan of toxic substances except rum. On the other hand, depending on who runs them, federal regulatory agencies can be toxic in themselves.